Tropical Storm Harvey Update from Beth Whited, Exec. Vice President Marketing & Sales

Announcement Number: CN2017-73
Categories: General Announcements
Posted Date: September 7, 2017

To Our Customers,

On Friday, August 25, 2017, Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. The flooding that followed was catastrophic and has had a major impact on our business and the businesses of our customers. But more importantly, this unprecedented weather event affected the lives of countless people in the Gulf region. Families were displaced. People were injured. Some lost their lives. Many of those families were our employees and many of them were yours, too. We were very fortunate not to have lost any Union Pacific employees or family members, but we know others weren’t as fortunate. While we are working hard to restore our network and support your business, we want you to know the families affected by Harvey are top of mind and close at heart. As we rebuild, the safety and well-being of the people behind the loss and devastation will continue to be our primary focus.   

Over the last two weeks we’ve worked tirelessly to restore service in the affected areas, where the damage has been significant. On the morning of Monday, August 28, we were aware of 96 outages in the Gulf Region. As the rain continued to fall, by Wednesday morning, that number had skyrocketed to more than 150. 

Thanks to the incredible work of countless teams, today, the majority of service has been restored. At the height of the storm 1,750 miles of track were out of service and 2,440 route miles were affected. As of today, just 50 miles of track are out of service and 420 route miles have been affected. While we’d like to see zero impacts to our service, we are proud of the substantial progress we’ve made. To give our customers a sense of the magnitude of work performed, I’m including a link to a presentation that further highlights our Rail Impact and Service Recovery Efforts

What you don't see in this presentation is the massive coordination effort happening behind the scenes here at Union Pacific:

  • Conference calls are taking place around the clock between our Operations, Engineering, Network Planning, Dispatch Center, Fuel and Supply teams as well as our National Customer Service Center to discuss the impacts and enact the proper strategies to move forward. 
  • Crews are relocating to provide much-needed manpower in the affected areas. 
  • We’ve added 145 locomotives to the network to handle the surge in traffic and have plans to put a total of 200 in place.  
  • In light of several pipeline and refinery disruptions, our Supply department is enacting plans to ensure our locomotives have the fuel needed to serve our customers. 
  • The Houston Service Unit mechanical team has inspected all of the 25,508-car inventory in affected areas to get them back on line. 
  • Staffing has been adjusted in our National Customer Service center to ensure we’re readily available to handle your needs. 

These are just a few of the efforts we’re taking to help all of us get back to business as usual. And we won’t stop until we are fully operational. 

That said, we must stress that full recovery will take time. As we inspect areas of track, we learn of additional repairs required. Reroutes create crew shortages and disrupt car flows. Many customer facilities remain closed. We are also diligently working through the backlog of trains and car inventories. Through it all, we must be keenly aware of maintaining a safe environment for our employees and the public. As we move forward in a safe and diligent manner, we ask for your patience. 

We will continue to communicate with you as progress is made. If you could please do the same, we would very much appreciate it. As your facilities come back on line, please make a call to our Hurricane Hotline at 800-365-6963 to notify our team. 

Thank you for your continued patience. We wish you and yours safety and comfort in the times ahead.

Original | Whited Signature

Beth Whited
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Marketing & Sales